Friday, March 31, 2006

Back to regular programming soon.

The Crepe of Consciousness (or: The Profiterole of Perambulatory Perception)

Readings by

Meredith Quartermain (special guest from Vancouver, author of Vancouver Walking (NeWest Press) and publisher of Nomados Editions)

Lise Downe

Mark Truscott, who will also interview Meredith Quartermain

Sunday, April 2, 2006, 4–7 pm

ART SQUARE, gallery & creperie, café, chocolate shop
334 Dundas St. West
(Directly across from the picturesque torn-open guts of the Art Gallery of Ontario)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Thanks to everyone who came out last night. I think it went pretty well. I'll change a few things next time around, but for the most part things worked. Great readings from Jay and Rachel.

And it was gratifying to see a group of people listening so closely to poetry. The big reward for me came when a few people told me they were able to hear in a way they hadn't before. That was the goal. Or, well, a goal. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tomorrow night, 7:30 p.m.:

The inaugural installment of the Test Reading Series

Jay MillAr and Rachel Zolf
Mercer Union, a Centre for Contemporary Art
37 Lisgar St., Toronto
pwyc ($5 recommended)

More info here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

On honesty: Why get excited about that which doesn't excite you anyway? People can usually perceive your level of interest. Maybe someday the work will interest you more, or maybe you'll figure out how to be interested.

And besides, when the words in an account feel right (and even illuminate something), why mess with them, unless of course they'll feel even better (or more real)?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

'Twas a top-ten Lex last night, or would be if such lists were my habit. Stan Rogal's delivery was masterful and smooth, and his poems were eminently good-natured. Louis Cabri, meanwhile, in an effort to overcome the dim lighting, struck a pose—leaning forward off the stage, propped on the mic stand—that he claimed conjured Elvis, though it reminded me of a more than slightly academic Iggy Pop. (John Barlow would later strike his own extreme poses in the interest of light, though at the back of the stage and, at one point, holding a book open with his foot.) Cabri's foam poem, which began with play between the words "foam" and "form," was a highlight, as was his Elizabethan piece. Margaret Christakos forwent her open michelle reading to lead the audience in praising Nathalie Stephens and her new book, Je Nathanaël, which Nathalie had launched with a transfixing reading. Stephens manages somehow to be intense while exuding calm. I'm looking forward to reading her book, which has a Gide character at its centre and seemed like an especially close meditation on the relationships between language and the body.

The open michelle was scary, out of control, and hot: from Maggie Helwig's recitation from memory of uninteresting Shakespeare to Kyle Buckley's.... well, I'm not even going to talk about it.

Actually, come to think of it, I'm going to turn over a new leaf and start ranking everything.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fourth-last Lex tonight. See you there.
As I got caught filling out a survey about the CBC website this morning, I thought of Paul Dutton's Speakeasy talk on the colonization of the arts by business speak, specifically the bit about his saying "neither—art" at the border when asked whether he was travelling on business or pleasure. I didn't know what to say when I was asked if I wanted to see more entertainment content (knowing the question likely means stuff like poetry as well as coverage of the Oscars). Annoyed as I am by the subsumption of the arts by the entertainment industry, at least according to the media, I went literal and said no. Should I have said I was part of a club or other social organization in the bit about how I spend my free time? I was tempted. As they stand, my responses give a pretty inaccurate picture.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Throughout all the somewhat frantic busyness leading up to Test and the Quartermain interview, etc., I've been making sure I take some time to write each day, just to keep in touch. I've mostly been editing, which means deleting heavily and trashing a good many poems. My manuscript, which was close to twenty pages, is now down to eight (or possibly ten). I like the push-pull of improvisation and discovery and then refocusing. This is definitely a "pull" phase, and it feels good. Anyway, I found myself buying a grey Duo-Tang for the MS, which I suppose means something.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Okay, so, like, maybe enough about the series. So, what's going on?
So, yes, why "Test"? My first impulse was to go for the provocative and impish and call the series the Boring Reading Series, but then I thought that people—especially the readers—might not appreciate my humour (if there was any). So I cast about for a word that might connote a similar relationship to spectacle (at least as the latter popularly manifests itself, i.e., as something like effortless gratification), and, while reading a magazine, happened upon the word "test." Perfect, thought I. It carries the ideas of engagement and seriousness but also of provisionality, inquiry and openness and the possibility of unexpected results or malfunction. Plus, I think it sounds pretty sharp and a little funny.

Oh yeah, and don't take the seriousness too seriously. I hope the series will be fun as well, in a thoughtful way.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Okay, so, why the series? Upon reading this article in October 2004, I realized that it was true, there were relatively few opportunities in Toronto to hear people read where the work was the focus. There were plenty of readings where socializing seemed to be the primary goal, and of course, because we're writers, and because we tend to spend a lot of solitary time (or so the argument goes), socializing is important, and in fact I would argue that what I've learned through my social experience in the Toronto literary community has been essential to my own work. But I began noticing that the easiest way to respond to the poetry read at such events was to key in to its ability to entertain in the immediate sense and that it was difficult (for me at least) to get a sense of its more subtle features. Again, entertainment in poetry is entirely valid in itself. I decided though that I also wanted a chance to hear the work in a different way, in a different context, and I guessed there were others (perhaps not a huge number) who wanted this as well.
Okay, the site is up. Stay tuned for some musings about some of the decisions I've made with respect to the series. These will likely come in installments.

LATER: Don't look at Rachel Zolf's poem. It needs some formatting work. I hope this is the last fix.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Calling all tech heads: please take a look at this using different browsers (if you're not a tech head, don't look; it's still pretty ugly). What's going on with the spacing in the main sections, especially around the links?

I have a feeling I need to use uls, but I'm not sure how.

Now that I look again, the links themselves ain't too hot either.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sigh. Remember those days when I had a chance to blog? Blogger guilt is setting in big time.

Anyway, I am really digging Craig Dworkin's Reading the Illegible.